June 4, 2015 — Two national presidential polls were released this week and we continue to see survey results yielding a pack of Republican candidates either tied for, or in close proximity of, the lead. Each hovers around 10-15 percent with no clear path to a majority.
Both the new Washington Post/ABC News (May 28-31; 1,001 adults; 376 registered Democrats; 362 registered Republicans) and CNN/ORC (May 29-31; 1,025 adults) polls tested the national candidates, and though neither survey is particularly sound from a methodological nor practical political perspective, their results are consistent with most other available research.
A national poll of the presidential primaries is not a particularly useful tool because votes are cast on an individual state, and not a national basis. Secondly, the registered voters segmentation for each survey is very small. The Post poll, where only 376 Democrats and 362 Republicans are sampled for their views and attitudes about primary candidates and ballot tests, possesses a high unreliability factor. The CNN survey tests 483 Republicans and 433 Democrats. This is a better sample draw, but not substantially. Third, and again particularly pronounced in the Post poll, the sample skews highly negative. In fact, all tested candidates have unfavorable personal ratings, which is not consistent with other known data. Continue reading >
June 3, 2015 — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) officially entered the presidential contest Monday, with many questioning why he is running. Barely registering in any poll outside of his native South Carolina, the new Graham campaign must be rated as a long shot at best. But, looking at the possibility of a brokered convention changes the dynamics for he and other second tier candidates.
As the Republican field continues to expand – Graham’s candidacy now means nine individuals are official GOP candidates – the aggregate campaign direction becomes less predictable. In addition to the nine contenders, six more potential candidates including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, are poised to soon make formal declarations. Two of them, ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Donald Trump, have scheduled June 4 and 16 announcement dates, respectively.
The larger the campaign field with no sustained front runner means the odds of anyone failing to secure support from a majority of the 2,470 Republican delegates (1,236 delegate votes are required for nomination) are much greater. Thus, a candidate such as Graham, who is not viewed as a serious contender for the nomination but has potential to win some delegates, can become an important factor in deciding exactly who will be the nominee. Continue reading >
June 2, 2015 — Iowa pollster Selzer & Company was back in the field conducting another presidential poll for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics and produced results showing a clear leader in the Republican field. The group has been the regular DMR pollster for the past several election cycles.
The survey (May 25-29; 402 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders from a pool of 4,161 Iowa registered voters) again finds Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) leading the huge pack of 16 Republican presidential hopefuls, just as he was in their previous January poll.
Despite not overtly campaigning, or being a major presence in the news during the last month, Gov. Walker is demonstrating staying power in this important first-in-the-nation caucus state. He garnered 17 percent support, with a combined preference number of 27 percent. Only 15 percent of the respondent sample said they would “never” consider voting for him, the lowest percentage of any candidate. Continue reading >
June 1, 2015 — Quinnipiac University just released a new poll (May 19-26; 1,711 registered U.S. voters; 679 likely Republican primary voters; 748 likely Democratic nomination system participants) that clearly reveals the closeness and fluidity of the Republican presidential contest. No less than five candidates are tied for first place, and the entire field of 16 tested individuals fall within 10 points of one another.
Though this is a small-sample national survey and not reflective of the state-based system in which candidates participate to win a presidential nomination, the data still has value because it suggests that no potential contender is summarily eliminated.
Jointly in top position with just 10 percent preference apiece are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (now also residing in the Sunshine State), ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Just three and four points behind them are Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (seven percent), and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent). Continue reading >
May 21, 2015 — On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) announced both that he will compete in a political contest, yet he won’t. After speculating about running for president, Pence formally declared that he will seek re-election as governor. Therefore, he is out of the presidential contest but he certainly remains in the political arena.
So far, the preponderance of prospective Republican candidates have either officially jumped into the race or appear headed in that direction. Two, Pence and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, have decided not to enter the national campaign.
This means the Republican field could still reach as many as 18 candidates. Eleven have either become candidates or, in the case of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will enter the race soon. Two major potential contenders, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also have yet to formally declare, but will reportedly do so sometime in June.
This will be a record large presidential field and, with no one performing as a clear front-runner, the race may not be finally decided until the very end of the nominating cycle. Continue reading >
May 12, 2015 — A new Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm’s University survey (May 2-6; Purple Strategies consulting firm; 500 registered New Hampshire voters; oversampled to attain 400 Democratic primary voters and 400 Republican primary voters) projects that the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary is a virtual multi-candidate tie. The general election figures are also tightening, uncovering further weakness in presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The pollsters tested 13 Republican candidates or potential candidates, four of whom broke into double-digits. At 12 percent support are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Just one point behind loom former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sunshine State Sen. Marco Rubio.
Businessman Donald Trump makes an appearance in this poll, and does reasonably well, capturing eight percent preference. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie follows with seven percent, just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz (six percent) and Dr. Ben Carson (five percent). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ex-Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) all follow in a range between four and one percent. Continue reading >
May 11, 2015 — The University of New Hampshire is routinely among the most unreliable of public polling entities, and the institution’s new release in partnership with WMUR-TV in Manchester is no exception to that characterization. The poll is attracting attention because it is the first one in months to project former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as leading his fellow Republican competitors in any early voting state.
The survey, conducted during the very long sampling period of April 24 – May 3, interviewed only 293 “likely GOP primary voters.” The 10-day questioning period is seven days longer than the optimum timetable, and the sample size is only half as large as what one would typically see in a state the size of New Hampshire.
The pollsters will argue that because they are testing only likely Republican primary voters, the sample size will be smaller than a poll studying the entire electorate. While this is true, not even reaching 300 people taints the results with a very high error factor. By the pollsters’ own admission, the error rate in this study is greater than plus or minus 5.7 percent, which means the results could vary by as much as 10 points per individual. Continue reading >